Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Car Wash for a Cause!!

This Saturday, October 2nd, we will be hosting a car wash to raise money for MABB! We will be at McCormick Paint on Route 40 from 10am-4pm. The address is 9291 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City MD. We will be featuring some of our adoptable dogs, we will have a bake sale, and we'll have handmade dog collars and scrapbooks for sale. 100% of the money raised goes towards the care of homeless animals. Stop by, meet some adorable puppies, and get your car cleaned!

October is a big month for Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies, check back later this week for more dates and events!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A year of fostering, playing catch up!

The plan in the future is for every foster to have his or her own post but right now we have to play a little catch up to cover everyone we have had so far this year! At some point we'll go back before this year... Time, we need more time!

The year started off with Sampson and Delilah. Sampson stayed with us but two at once would have made us both go insane! Delilah went to another great foster home in the area.

 Sampson started out so skinny but oh how that changed!

From Sampson we went on to sweet miss Olivia, a 4 month old pit/boxer mix. Olivia was such a sweet girl and loved everyone!
 She settled in really well with our crew.
 Those ears!

And then there was Bea. Oh Bea. Or "Bing" as Nick called her because all she did was go "bing, bing, bing" bouncing off of everything in our house! Bea was and still is (because we know her owner) very lucky she's so cute! Bea was adopted by one the mother-in-law of one of my best friends so it's nice to get updates on her! I promise Linda, she was not that crazy before we sent her your way!

Sophie!! I will likely cry writing this. I love Sophie, I wanted to keep Sophie, Nick wanted to keep Sophie. Sophie was a mini Spike in looks and personality. She sure did love Nick! Every dog we have favors me and Nick hates it. He doesn't realize though, that they favor me because I'm the one who feeds and walks them. It's simple logic; owner with food and fun gets more love! Sophie, however, was unfazed by my offerings and adored Nick. Of course Nick wanted to keep the first dog who gave 100% of their attention to him. After much talk we realized we wouldn't be able to foster anymore if we kept Sophie and we knew it was more important to keep helping other dogs. It also helped that Sophie went to an amazing family that we knew would adore her just as much as we did!

Enter Dory! We started fostering Dory in May, we were really on a roll! Poor Dory only has one picture for some reason, I need to find more of her! Shameless confession: we both love blue pit bulls. We were planning on taking a short break after Sophie because we were both pretty upset about her being adopted but we can't resist a blue pittie and it was actually a great way to move forward and not think about the fourth dog we should NOT have had!

Of course with her gorgeous color and amazing personality Dory left as quickly as she came in and went to a fabulous home. So, still in May, we took in Missy. My thinking with Missy was that she blended in so nicely with the furniture that Nick would never even notice we had her! 
He did notice her, she blew her cover the second he got home from work...
Are you all noticing a trend? Who do you think the disciplinarian is? Surely not the one who has dogs climbing all of them in every picture!

For Nick's birthday June 3rd he got...... FAITH! The sweetest little petite girl, she was such a doll! She loved to lick everyone and everything, much to Spike's dismay. Spike is big on personal space, Faith had no concept of space and thought was was just something else to sit on and lick! 

Time for the dynamic duo of Jesse and Kane! Luckily Jesse was only with us temporarily while waiting for his foster mom to get him. I have no idea how people handle two puppies at once, I envy that level of patience! Kane came to us as such a scrawny guy and boy did he grow fast! We have no idea what Kane could be mixed with but I would guess some sort of mastiff. Watching him try to walk with his huge paws was hilarious. Kane was the most lovable foster we have had to date and that says a lot, as all of our fosters have been true to pit bull form and loved to cuddle.

Moving right along here we have Abby who brings us to the beginning August. I loved Abby! She had such a fun personality and was one of the easiest dogs to train.

And now we're to our current foster, Beatrice, who doesn't even have any pictures! My digital camera broke and Nick is in the process of getting the pictures off of it but poor Bea gets the shaft because of this. Bea is an 8 month of mix of something. We're really not sure! She has some shepherd in her but beyond that we have no idea. Good news on Bea, she's getting her new home this Thursday!

So there we have it, our year in fostering as of 9/28/3010. 10 fosters in 9 months! We really have been so lucky, we've had some amazing dogs and wonderful adopters.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stormy. The start of a foster love affair.

Nick and I agreed we were done with animals so we started doing dog transports and temporary fostering. Temporary fostering lead to a week, two weeks, and up to two months but it was always in relation to an upcoming transport. Then we met Stormy.

Stormy was the first interaction we had with Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies, the rescue we now foster for, and I am forever indebted to her for connecting me with such an amazing, compassionate group of people. The women who run MABB are nothing short of amazing and as an animal lover I can only hope to make half as much of an impact on dogs in need that they have.

When we first got Stormy the poor girl was so broken. She was drug from a car and in desperate need of medical attention. MABB took in her, and took on her incredibly expensive vet bills. Once she was able to leave the vet we took her to our house. Even after all of her time spent healing she still looked like this...

Despite all of the pain she was in and everything she suffered before she was rescued Stormy was still so lovable and affectionate with us. She showed us how resilient dogs can be, how forgiving they can be when it means someone will love them. 

After the time we spent with Stormy we decided we wanted to continue helping animals in need like her. We were so impressed with MABB and how compassionate they were that we knew we had to continue our fostering with them. So that brings us to the main purpose of this blog. We're on our 11th foster this year, we're losing track, and we never want to forget one of the special dogs that came for a visit :) This blog is the public diary of our adventures in fostering. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Meet My Family

Like I said in the first post, our plan was to be a one dog family. The best laid plans never seems to workout. Spike, unfortunately, would love to be an only dog but he had his year and a half of glory and it only went downhill from there.

I was volunteering at the Animal Welfare Society in Howard County when a police officer that knew the owner of the shelter brought in the most pitiful looking dog I've ever seen. The dog was rescued from a dog fighting bust in Baltimore City where she was a bait dog. She was deaf, had no fur, cuts and scabs all over her body, terrified of people, no social skills, food aggression, and needed extensive vetting. The shelter was uncertain of how much hope there was for this dog and they were lacking funds needed for her care. The dog was brought in during a large open house and one after another, people just looked at her with sad eyes but asked no questions on whether she would ever be available for adoption. I still don't really know what it was that made me want this dog, surely it wasn't her soft fur since she had none, it wasn't her obedience since she had minimal human interaction and what she had was horrible for her, it wasn't that we'd even been considering another dog, we still didn't even have our own house yet. All I could think about was the pain she endured and the life she deserved to have now that she was saved. The only way I could be certain this dog got the most amazing life from this day forward was to take her home myself and give her that life. Meet Piglet.
This is after she finally started growing some fur back..

After putting a months worth of weight on..

Four months later, her gorgeous coat is all filled in! 

Piglet posing for our wedding table number pictures

Piglet was a challenge. Aside from her medical problems she had the worst case of separation anxiety our behaviorist had ever seen. Nick's mom was nice enough to let Piglet stay there with Nick and Spike until we bought our house and I still feel awful for how many things she destroyed! We definitely couldn't have made it work with Piglet if it wasn't for the help of Nick's mom so a huge thank you to her! We're happy to report that after lots of training and work, Piglet does not destroy things anymore *knock on wood* and can be left alone without disasters occurring. Did I mention it was a lot of work?

We bought our house in November 2007 and settled in very nicely with Spike and Piglet. Our course, what house doesn't also have a cat? Our dogs like cats, both of our parents have cats, we had the room, why not? Surprisingly Nick agreed and I adopted Tigger, the biggest cat ever. Tigger was 3 when we got him and we were told his previous owners said he got along great with dogs and other cats. Someone lied. Tigger hated the dogs; he hissed, swatted at them, snarled, and hid. Taking him back wasn't an option, as it was we picked him because he had been there the longest so he clearly wasn't mister popular. We put a gate up at the top of the basement stairs and made the basement "cat zone, no dogs allowed". Tigger loves his basement and has actually warmed up to the dogs enough to sleep on our bed with them, it only took three years!

This was when we first got Tigger. Poor Spike and Piglet were locked out of the room so Tigger could get some cuddle time. I wasn't kidding when I said he's the biggest cat ever. His paws are bigger than Bella's! (Yea, we'll get to Bella in a second..)

Tigger was a chicken for Halloween.

Two dogs, one cat. We were set. We thought. I made the mistake one day of looking at the adoptable dogs on the French Bulldog Rescue Network's website. The home page had a story about dogs rescued from a puppy mill auction in Pennsylvania that were now up for adoption. Reading the story of how these dogs were treated broke my heart. I think we all know where this is going. After a week of emails, calls, home visits, vet and reference checks, we made the two hour trip to PA to pick up Bella.

Spike took to Bella instantly, much more than he did with Piglet. Spike has a big heart and is very nurturing. He loved every kitten we've ever fostered and I think he thought Bella was his own baby (if he could have babies).

They make it hard to get the bed made.

Bella is a thief. For the first year we had her nothing was safe. We have a dog door that we keep open when we're home and she loved nothing more than taking anything she could find out the dog and into one of the holes she dug.

We were done now. Three dogs and a cat. In fairness, the next three cats found us, we did not attempt to adopt them nor we were planning for them to stay permanently. One morning in November our neighbor knocked on our door to tell us they heard kitten mewing outside and found three tiny kittens but they had no idea what to do with them. After sitting in the freezing cold for what seemed like hours about 10 minutes a mama cat came back to the kittens. The mama cat took one look at me and ran. Our neighbor told us he'd tried to pet her for a few months but could never get close to her. Great, a feral mama with three kittens. The county where we live does not have a good trap-and-release program and was full with kittens at the time so I decided I'd trap the mom and kittens on my own. I think my husband married me for the brilliant ideas I come up with, such as this one. 

I got the largest dog crate we had, placed the kittens in the far back on blankets and wait. And waited. Mama cat would come to the crate but not inside until the kittens started mewing. She heard that, went in, and bam! I slammed the door on the crate shut. Have you seen a feral cat react to being trapped? It's so heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time. I took the crate into the basement, aka cat zone, and my plan was to call rescues that Monday to see who could help. I specifically told Nick not to bother mama and kittens. Nick, being an animal lover, decided he'd open the crate door to see the kittens anyways. All I heard upstairs was a loud scream followed by "oh my god, it attacked me, oh my god I have rabies!". Apparently upon opening the crate door Mama attacked Nick and got out. Well, the best thing we could do was bring Tigger upstairs and leave Mama in the basement so she would still come out and tend to her itty bitty, few day old kittens. Eight weeks went by and we never saw Mama. She took care of the kittens, we checked on them all of the time, but she never came out if we were there. We didn't have much luck with rescues so we decided to find them homes with a few friends that were interested. But first, we had to re-trap Mama so she could go get fixed with the kittens and get her shots. I'll spare the details and speed this up... we re-trapped her, all spay/neutering went well, one of our best friends took one of the cats and we still needed to find homes for the other two. Mama came home to recover in the basement with her babies and somehow her two babies and Mama have never left. I couldn't very well do a T-N-R for Mama after she spent a winter in our nice warm house, being fed twice a day. We still can't pet Mama but she loves Tigger and she still cleans her babies daily. She doesn't run from me anymore and only hisses a few times when I hold my hand out. The kittens were named Reed and Lewis (Go Ravens!), Lewis is Tigger's best bud and Reed thinks he's one of the dogs so all is well at the Morabito Zoo. Oh and we are full, no more! 

Tigger loved Reed and Lewis from the start!

Devil eyes! That is Mama  closest to me with Tigger and Reed behind her. She's tiny little thing!

And there you have Spike's family. So much for his dreams of being an only dog child!

A little background and the dog that started it all.

Spike is the first pit bull we have ever owned. I will never forget the gasps and head shakes I got from both of our families when we told them Spike was a pit bull. My mom made me promise not to bring him to her house and Nick's mom said she didn't want a pit bull staying there. Oh how things can change once you meet Spike! As I write this blog post this is the scene at my parents house-
Not only is Spike welcome at their house, not only does he sit on the leather chairs and couches that have been dog free my whole life, but my mom practically begs us to have "Grandmom Weekend" regularly with Spike where we drop him off Friday and pick him up Sunday night. Spike has made my once pit bull terrified mom into one of the biggest pit lovers I know. Every new foster we get she wants to meet immediately and every phone conversation for the past 5 years has started with "So how is my favorite grand dog doing?".
My mom wanted one picture framed from Easter last year. Silly me, I thought it would be the one of her and I but no, it was this one-

My point in this post is to show that one dog can change so many perceptions people have about "the big bad pit bull". We went into dog ownership thinking we would have one dog, not knowing as much as we should have about the breed, and we have absolutely fallen in love with the most hated, talked about, fear inducing breed in America. And we haven't had a single regret, we love our bulls.